Elevated levels of carbonic anhydrase II (CA II) have been shown to be associated with cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure. Although arjunolic acid (AA) has a diverse range of therapeutic applications including cardio-protection, there have been no reports on the effect of AA on CA II. The present study describes for the first time, the novel zinc independent inhibition of CA II by AA. The molecular docking studies of AA indicated that the hydroxyl group at C2 of the A-ring, which hydrogen bonds with the catalytic site residues (His64, Asn62 and Asn67), along with the gem-dimethyl group at C20 of the E-ring, greatly influences the inhibitory activity, independent of the catalytic zinc, unlike the inhibition observed with most CA II inhibitors. Among the triterpenoids tested viz. arjunolic acid, arjunic acid, asiatic acid, oleanolic acid and ursolic acid, AA was the most potent in inhibiting CA II in vitro with an IC50 of 9 μM. It was interesting to note, that in spite of exhibiting very little differences in their structures, these triterpenoids exhibited vast differences in their inhibitory activities, with IC50 values ranging from 9 μM to as high as 333 μM. Furthermore, AA also inhibited the cytosolic activity of CA in H9c2 cardiomyocytes, as reflected by the decrease in acidification of the intracellular pH (pHi). The decreased acidification reduced the intracellular calcium levels, which further prevented the mitochondrial membrane depolarization. Thus, these studies provide a better understanding for establishing the novel molecular mechanism involved in CA II inhibition by the non-zinc binding inhibitor AA.
S. Kalyanavenkataraman, Pandurangan Nanjan, Dr. Asoke Banerji, Dr. Bipin G. Nair, and Geetha B Kumar, “Discovery of arjunolic acid as a novel non-zinc binding carbonic anhydrase II inhibitor”, Bioorganic chemistry, vol. 66, pp. 72–79, 2016.